Special to the Record
The Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens Artisans’ Festival taking place this Labour Day weekend, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, has become one of the highlights of the outdoor festival season in the Comox Valley. Bringing together some of the very best artisans, artists and craftspeople in a unique setting makes it one of those events that finds its way to the “must see and do” calendar.
While the 24-plus-acre gardens are a draw unto themselves, when you add in over 60 artisans, entertainment and some food and refreshments, Woodland Gardens becomes a destination that appeals to a variety of interests.
The Artisans’ Festival, now in its 12th year, has been created to showcase the many talented artisans, artists and craftspeople who travel from near and far to set up booths to sell their works. A quick review of the exhibitors list reveals that there literally is something for everyone: from high quality glass, pottery and jewelry to works of art created out of stone, metal and wood.
Visitors will also find artisans who focus on creating garden- related items such as birdhouses, garden sculptures and furniture that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Rounding out the roster of exhibitors are painters, sculptors, photographers and a number of artisans who focus on crafting herbal teas, soaps and clothing.
One of the highlights of the weekend is the eclectic mix of musicians who are set up at various stages throughout the gardens.
From the World Music of Jorge Alfaro to Canuk Country with Don McLellan and Jack Brigadier, there is a variety of music to get visitors’ toes tapping. Popular entertainers also include Three Worlds with Brad Prevodoros, Greg Joy and Brad Hawkes.
Traci Canil will be on site wandering from exhibit area to exhibit area with her flute and David Somers provides a touch of Irish with his folk music.
Alan Jossul is back with his classical guitar and newcomer this year is Anela Kahiamoe who has been wowing the Valley at various venues with his uniquely Hawaiian tunes.
While the festival is the focal point of the weekend, visitors are encouraged to take in all that the gardens have to offer.
There are more than four kilometres of quiet pathways that lead through the forest down to the babbling waters of Kitty Coleman Creek, or off to the labyrinth where a little bit of serenity and harmony can be found by following the traditions of this ancient ritual.
One thing to remember as you take in the gardens is that they are the creation of one man, his family and friends who have tilled the soil, planted thousands of flowers, shrubs and strategically placed fountains and unique garden features so that all can enjoy nature in a more natural setting.
The Artisans’ Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 30-31) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday (Sept. 1) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular admission rates apply. Woodland Gardens is located at 6183 Whittaker Rd. For further information about the gardens visit the website at www.woodlandgardens.ca